LAST season, on a raw, foul winter’s day in early December, Percy Main Amateurs put in a first half performance at Monkchester Green that left home outfit Walker Central clinging on to parity like desperate shipwreck victims digging their fingernails into fast submerging flotsam and jetsam.
However, The Villagers were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal that advent afternoon when a late strike gave Walker the points.
On Saturday, the Main were equally culpable architects of their own downfall as they had been nine months previous, when this game on a balmy, blistering August day went away from them in the second period.
Returning Main winger Chris Doig enjoyed his dog day afternoon with a determined and dogged display that left the home defence gasping for air and utterly unable to cope with his inventiveness and pace before the break.
Sadly, all his trickery came to nought as his colleagues in front of goal found ever more inventive ways of squandering several gilt edged openings.
Main manager Gareth ‘Beanie’ Allen was not so much frustrated and exasperated and disbelieving as chance after chance was squandered.
After three minutes Doig’s scamper down the left resulted in a low cross that just eluded the on-rushing Kevin Westphal.
The unlucky striker was inches away from an opener after seven minutes when his speculative drive flashed a foot wide of the angle, with keeper Watt well beaten.
Doig latched on to a clearance from former Main stalwart Kriss Carr after 12 minutes but pulled his shot a yard wide.
Doig’s next contribution was a perfect cross to Tony Abladey, whose flicked header from a central position dropped wide, when he could have been expected to at least hit the target.
Walker’s first effort after 28 minutes saw Rob Rodgerson race from the Main goal to launch a clearance from the edge of the box to deny the advancing Michael Crame.
This was a rare foray forward by the hosts and to emphasise the point, Mark Davies floated over a delightful ball that was wastefully nodded wide by Assan Jallow.
As the half drew to a close, it was clear Percy Main could and indeed should have been at least two goals clear, if not more.
Disappointingly, such profligacy was to return to haunt the Villagers as a determined Walker returned refreshed from the break, insistent on exploiting their good fortune.
The opening five minutes after the break saw a succession of Walker half chances that required Rodgerson to rescue his team-mates with several brave blocks. Sadly, he was powerless to stop Jason Bates giving Walker the lead on 52 minutes.
A long ball forward saw Bates wriggle between Lindsay Collinson and the crew cut Dean Morgan before slotting a low finish in to the corner.
Perhaps this was the wake up Main needed as Morgan’s searching through ball was adeptly controlled by Tony Abladey before he finished superbly, crashing an unstoppable drive past keeper Watt from the edge of the area, only two minutes after the Main had fallen behind.
Suddenly the game became an end to end thriller, played at an impressive tempo on an unforgivably warm afternoon.
The next goal appeared to be crucial and it went to Walker, almost out of nothing.
A foul 30 yards from goal saw Paul Hollier step up and crash an unstoppable, unerring finish in to the roof of the net to give the home side an edge that the never seemed likely to surrender.
Indeed, a third goal on 80 minutes by Bates, outpacing the Main defence and finishing elegantly in to the corner from a tight angle, had seemed more likely than an equaliser for the Villagers.
As the clock wound down, Rodgerson excelled himself again with another brilliant save from Crame and Davies almost reduced the arrears, slamming a great effort in to the side netting.
However, it was not to be and Walker ran out 3-1 winners.
Percy Main now have two successive home games to try and get some points on the board; after Wallsend Town’s visit on Wednesday, Rutherford come to Purvis Park on Saturday in an attractive looking premier division game. Kick-off is 2.30pm.